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Green Spaces near Stations: Our Top 5

Whether you’re visiting somewhere for the day or just passing through, you can’t beat somewhere peaceful to sit and take it all in. Maybe the kids are dying to let off some steam, or you’d just like some fresh air. Here at Railsmartr, as we’ve travelled across the North of England and Scotland, we’ve found some of our favourite green spaces. The best part is that they’re all within 15 minutes walk of a station!

Calton Hill, Edinburgh

If you’re not quite up for the slightly brutal hike up Arthur’s Seat, but still want some breathtaking views of Edinburgh and beyond, then Calton Hill is probably for you. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to a number of different historical monuments.

We’ll be honest, there’s still some legwork involved! After all, it does still have ‘hill’ in the name. But, if you exit Edinburgh Waverley onto Princes Street and turn left, a short five-minute walk will bring you to the bottom of the steps. A short workout up some steps and a bank later, and this will be your reward:

green space - edinburgh calton hill

You can see right across the city and towards the Forth River, with a plethora of green spaces to kick back and relax in. If you’re looking for something more exciting, it also hosts the Beltane Fire Festival every April!

Linlithgow Park & Peel (Palace), Linlithgow

This is one of those green spaces where you truly feel like you’ve got away from it all. Despite backing onto the town of Linlithgow itself, there’s quite a ‘wild’ and isolated atmosphere. Perfect for some peace and quiet!

You have several options here. If you just want to sit back and take it in, there’s plenty of places to sit near the palace:

green spaces - linlithgow park

For the more adventurous, you can walk around the whole of Linlithgow Loch (pictured above). That said, it’s a pretty level and short walk (around an hour), so it’s perfect on a nice day with the kids or to walk the dog.

Of course, we can’t ignore the imposing and rather beautiful Linlithgow Palace:

This palace once served as a royal nursery for James V, Mary Queen of Scots and Princess Elizabeth (later Elizabeth I). As of June 10th 2023, it’s open to the public again, too.

The current building was planned and built starting in 1424, but was largely abandoned when James VI became James I of England and moved the royal court to London in 1603. Despite efforts to rebuild the collapsed Northern Quarter of the palace in 1620, a fire in 1746 spelled the end of Linlithgow Palace as a royal residence.

As green spaces go, the area around Linlithgow Palace certainly has it all. If you’re coming from Edinburgh, you can get there by train in as little as 17 minutes.

Museum Gardens, York

Situated near the banks of the River Ouse, the Museum Gardens are just a short walk from the station. The main attraction (as the name suggests!) is the Yorkshire Museum, which tells the story of York and beyond from as far back as the Roman era.

If you want somewhere to wander or just relax though, then you’re still spoilt for choice. It can be quite the oasis of calm compared to the bustling nature of York itself. It’s the ideal place to start or finish a riverside walk, too.

As well as the green spaces, you’ll find a number of historical buildings to explore. One of these is the ruins of St Mary’s Abbey, which date from between 1271 and 1294:

green spaces - york museum gardens

The park is open between 9am and 6pm all year. You can find out more about its history on the Yorkshire Museums Trust website.

Valley Gardens, Harrogate

This is one of the green spaces that forms part of Harrogate’s rich history as a spa town. Valley Gardens have more mineral springs in them than any other known place, with there being 36 wells alone in an area of the gardens known as ‘Bogs Field’. The gardens are English Heritage Grade II listed, too.

green spaces - harrogate valley gardens

In the winter months, you can expect plenty of places to walk and explore. The gardens also give way to the Pinewood Woodlands, so you can extend your adventure even further.

The gardens truly come to life in the warmer months, though. There’s a number of cafes selling light refreshments, as well as outdoor activities to keep everyone of all ages amused. You can choose from mini golf, a paddling pool, tennis courts and more.

If you’re looking for somewhere a little more sheltered, why not relax in the pavillions?

On Summer Sundays, you’ll even find outdoor concerts taking place.

Vimto Park & Sackville Gardens, Manchester

Finally, how about two green spaces for the price of one? The first one, Vimto Park, may be one that you’ve seen from the train. Who could miss the giant Vimto bottle looking up at us from the street below? The drink was born in Manchester in 1908, so this seems like a pretty fitting way to pay homage to it:

green spaces - manchester vimto park

It’s located on the Science Campus of the University of Manchester, around a five-minute walk from Piccadilly Station. To get to it, you’re best using the Fairfield Street exit (follow signs for the Metrolink and the taxi rank). While it’s only a small space, it’s a little oasis of calm in the city centre. It’s perfect for watching the trains go by, as well!

A short walk away down Sackville Street, you’ll also find Sackville Gardens. The land was originally purchased by the Manchester Corporation in 1882 so there’d be an interrupted view of the Manchester School of Technology (now the Sackville Street Building).

Nowadays, it’s a great place to relax and reflect, as it’s home to various LGBT+ memorials. One of these is the Alan Turing memorial:

Sackville Gardens is also around five minutes from Piccadilly Station and it backs onto the popular Canal Street.

No matter which of these green spaces you might choose to visit, you can book your rail tickets with Railsmartr. We don’t charge any fees if you want to change your plans, either.